The offseason is a great time to learn about the sport. For most their sole focus is always on how fit they can get themselves, scrutinising the Strava files of their competitors to learn the secrets to training. One of the first things I learnt when I started coaching is that there really isn’t any one secret training plan. I once bought a book that outlined the secrets of all the best athletes and coaches hoping to cash in on their years of wisdom. However, the only thing I learnt is that there is no secret formula. Quite often the views presented were polar opposites and I was simply left scratching my head.

It was Jamie Turner (coach of Gwen Jorgenson – Olympic gold medallist) who first introduced  the concept of the holistic view of triathlon. He breaks the sport up into the key areas of

  • physical (fitness, diet, equipment),
  • technical, (skills, technique)
  • tactical (pacing, race execution)
  • Psychological (motivation, dealing with challenges).

If you look at something like open water swimming you soon realise it is not just pool fitness that determines the end result as the fastest pool swimmers may not necessarily be the best come race day. To be a great open water swimmer you need to focus on all four- physical (fitness), technical (open water skills), tactical (where to start, who’s feet to sit on), and psychological (dealing with the chaos, pain, rough water).
So, when we think about training don’t limit your thinking to the numbers (how far and fast to go), sure this is important but if that is all you focus on you will miss out on the many advantages that come with an holistic approach.
So, as we start to plan for the season ahead, go beyond the basic numbers and explore the broader aspects of our sport.



Extract from the Lakers “BTW” by N.Pietsch